Over the past two years, I’ve conducted a “shadow draft,” meaning that any time the Rams were on the clock to select a player, so was I. I figured this would be a fun exercise just to see the different paths of “my” draft class and the Rams’ real-life draft class. It also allows me to put my opinions on the record. It’s easy say, I could’ve taken better players than the Rams. Now, it’s out there.
The rules of engagement for the shadow draft were straightforward:
- I had to make my pick before the Rams’ selection was announced.
- I “drafted” with the Rams’ roster and the corresponding needs in mind.
- I would follow along with whatever real-life trades the Rams made. So even though I might have wanted to trade down from 57 or would not have wanted to trade down from 88, I was along for the ride.
57th Overall – C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
The Los Angeles Rams needed a center heading into the draft and therefore it was surprising to see Creed Humphrey fall no only to the second round, but all the way to the Rams at 57th overall. This is one of those times that for me, the value aligned with the need. Humphrey could have stepped in on day one and started in the middle of the offensive line.
Where They Went: 63rd overall, Kansas City Chiefs
Actual Rams Pick: WR TuTu Atwell
103rd Overall – LB Jabril Cox, LSU
This is another time where I felt the value aligned with the need. Prior to the draft, many thought Jabril Cox would go in the middle of the second round. Many Rams fans would have been more than happy with Cox at 57. Yet, here he is still available with the 103rd overall pick. His slide makes sense as he had shoulder surgery prior to the draft and according to Ian Rapoport, it’s “very hard to fix.”. This is one of those times, that being in the room and being able to have that information is beneficial. I still like the potential if Cox can fully recover.
Where They Went: 115th overall, Dallas Cowboys
Actual Rams Pick: LB Ernest Jones
117th Overall – S Jamar Johnson, Indiana
At 117th overall, I felt like the Rams were in a spot to make a value pick, especially after trading back to acquire more selections. The Rams didn’t necessarily need a safety, but Jamar Johnson made a lot of sense and seemed to be a perfect fit in the Rams defense. Johnson was a very solid safety at Indiana. He’s very good in the run game and disciplined in coverage. While I expect Terrell Burgess and Jordan Fuller to start, Johnson adds very good depth.
Where They Went: 164th overall, Denver Broncos
Actual Rams Pick: DL Bobby Brown III
130th Overall – EDGE Quincy Roche, Miami
After missing out on some receivers earlier, I debated on taking Tylan Wallace here. However, with the depth at wide receiver still available, I decided to wait and draft Roche instead. The Rams don’t necessarily need a starting edge player opposite of Leonard Floyd, but they need depth after losing Samson Ebukam. Roche has some of the best bend in the class and could come in and have an immediate effect as a situational pass rusher.
Where They Went: 216th overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
Actual Rams Pick: CB Robert Rochell
141st Overall – WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa
The Los Angeles Rams came in needing a deep threat wide receiver. Someone I would have been targeting here, like Anthony Schwartz went at 91 to the Cleveland Browns. Smith Marsette dealt with some bad quarterback play at Iowa which was a large reason for his lack of production. Smith-Marsette has an opportunity to be a steal in this spot.
Where They Went: 157th Overall, Minnesota Vikings
Actual Rams Pick: TE Jacob Harris
174th Overall – iOL David Moore, Grambling State
David Moore really caught my eye at the Senior Bowl. He was by far one of the most impressive offensive linemen in Mobile. Grambling didn’t play football last year, so to prepare for the draft, Moore practiced with Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. This pick has some real potential.
Where They Went: Undrafted, Carolina Panthers
Actual Rams Pick: DE Ernest Brown IV
233rd Overall – EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State
Again, the Rams just need some depth at edge and Toney provides just that. He’s not going to start on day one and he may not even contribute as a rookie. He’s very athletic, but tends to lose focus. If he can be coached, he could turn into an every down player moving forward.
Where They Went: 246th Overall, Washington
Actual Rams Pick: RB Jake Funk
249th Overall – LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
Dylan Moses still available at this point is near criminal. He has a knee injury, but at 249th overall, it’s worth taking a chance on. He’ll likely go on IR and rehab his rookie year, but if he gets healthy, you have a first round caliber player at this spot. It’s worth taking a risk on at this point in the draft.
Where They Went: Undrafted, Jacksonville
Actual Rams Pick: WR Ben Skowronek
252nd Overall – CB Bryan Mills, NC Central
The Rams trading back from 88th overall messed up my plan of taking Ifeatu Melifonwu. Instead, Melifonwu got selected two spot before 103. Shaun Wade could’ve been in consideration before he went at 160, but I liked Roche and Smith-Marsette slightly better. Mills will be a project, but the Rams don’t necessarily need a starter.
Where They Went: Undrafted, Seattle
Actual Rams Pick: EDGE Chris Garrett
The Full Class
57 – C Creed Humphrey
103 – LB Jabril Cox
117 – S Jamar Johnson
130 – EDGE Quincy Roche
141 – WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette
174 – iOL David Moore
233 – EDGE Shaka Toney
249 – LB Dylan Moses
252 – CB Bryan Mills
Based on where they were actually selected David Moore was my biggest reach. However, there is no way that he should have gone undrafted. He dominated at the senior bowl and will provide good depth on the interior of the offensive line right away. To that same point, that’s also the biggest difference in my draft and the Rams draft. After losing Austin Blythe, the Rams didn’t select a single offensive lineman. I selected one with my first pick to fill that hole and then added depth later on. We’ll see in a few years who’s draft class outperforms who?